Few things can make us feel as good as giving – and who doesn’t feel great at the end of the night after having given a charitable donation to a worthy cause? But chances are, you probably feel like you are struggling to make ends meet as it is – who has the extra cash to give away?
Chances are, you do. You just don’t know it yet!
Well, first a look at where your paycheck is going. You may be surprised that you have a lot more to give than you think!
I found an article at TheNest which breaks down the average American’s spending:
- 34% – Housing (Mortgage, Rent, Taxes, Utilities, House Insurance, etc.)
- 20% – Savings, Insurance, Healthcare (Retirement, health insurance, etc.)
- 17% – Transportation (Vehicle, Insurance, Gas, Maintenance, Public Transit, etc.)
- 16% – Entertainment (Clothing, Personal Services, Movies, Games, Alcohol/Tobacco, Events, etc.)
- 13% – Food (Groceries, Restaurants, Fast Food, Snacks, etc)
You should read with some alarm that we tend to spend more on entertaining ourselves than on food!
I don’t believe that you should cut your entertainment expenses out completely. Who could, anyway? Taking some time off to do what we enjoy doing and buy things that do nothing more than make us happy are good for the economy and help combat stress. What every one of us could probably do, though, is curb this spending greatly. While I have read entire books on why we need to spend more of our income on food (for health and quality reasons, to name a couple!) I would like to take this time to recommend that you consider a charitable donation with some of that excess entertainment money.
Here’s a challenge for this month: instead of buying a new sweater or video game, make do with the old one for the next 30 days. Take the money that you would have spent on that luxury/unnecessary item and consider donating to the following charities, instead!
[ Note: I've done a little research and found some VERY worthy charities and causes that will allow you to donate without breaking the bank, too! ]
I donate: about $6.60 per month ($16.60 so far)
Cost to me: $0.00
This has got to be one of the coolest organizations I’ve found yet! What Plus 3 does is team up with sponsors who agree to donate money based on the amount of exercise that Plus 3 members log. There’s absolutely no catch – it’s 100% FREE to become a member and log the exercise that you do. You even get to choose which sponsor and cause you’d like to support with your efforts. There are leader-boards so you can see where you fall amongst the other athletes, and free prizes and incentives for reaching certain exercise goals.
Since I started my exercise routine in July, I have raised $16.60 for the Humane Society of Silicon Valley, logged 86 hours of exercise, traveled over 271 miles on my own two feet, and am 1/10th of the way toward earning a free pair of socks for all of my logged yoga activity. Not only does it help motivate me to keep up my exercise routine, but I enjoy knowing that every time I exercise, I’m helping the humane society as well!
Friend me on Plus 3 by searching for Rikki Rogers. I’d love to see your exercise progress, as well!
I donated: £1.00
Cost to me: $1.56
Own a Colour
is the joint effort of an international paint company and the United Nations Children’s Fund to help donate money to UNICEF. UNICEF protects children’s rights in more than 190 countries and works with families, governments, businesses, and communities to make sure that the health and well being of children is upheld.
The way it works is, you head over to the [ stunning! ] Own a Colour website
, browse to the color that you’d like to “purchase”, and you get to name that color and leave a small note about it. You may donate as little as 1 pound, or as much as you’d like! The donation page gives the following breakdown, too, to help you decide your contribution amount:
- £1 - can buy enough polio vaccines to immunise ten children
- £3 - can buy 400 water purification tablets, enough to filter 2,000 litres of drinking water
- £5 - can buy 100 sachets of oral rehydration salts to combat deadly dehydration and diarrhea
- £10 - can buy three mosquito nets, vital protection against malaria, which kills an African child every 45 seconds
- £20 - can buy enough vaccinations to protect 50 children against measles, one of the biggest killers of children worldwide
Above, the orangey-yellow triangle is Rikki Rogers Goldenrod, hex code #ffc601 for you fellow nerds out there, and is the color that I named and purchased for UNICEF.
I heard about this site back in college, so it’s been around for a few years now! FreeRice.com is a free vocabulary building game – you don’t even have to sign in to play – which donates 10 grains of rice for every correct answer you enter. There’s no catch whatsoever – you just head over to the site, define a word by clicking the correct definition from a four word multiple choice box, and bam! 10 grains of rice are donated by the World Food Programme. It’s pretty easy.
Actually, it’s not super easy – the words get more difficult with every other correct answer.At level 13 I started encountering words I don’t know, got my first word incorrect at level 22, level 25 saw my first total guess, and by level 32 I was feeling rather dumb and headed off into the internet to do something else. However, I did bookmark the site and plan to hone my vocabulary and make a free donation whenever I find a lull in my workday. :)
I donated: 2180 grains of rice / 1/3 cup
Cost to me: 10 minutes of my time and a little bit of brain power
Donating to charities doesn’t have to break the bank – and it can enrich your life in more ways than just that fuzzy feeling you get after donating. Since mid July, I have donated
- $18.16 and 1/3 cup of rice to the Humane Society, UNICEF, and The World Hunger Programme
all for a grand total of $1.56 and ten minutes of my time.
In exchange for all of this donating, I have lost around 5 pounds and gained some serious muscle from all of the exercise, scored a little bit of free marketing by leaving my web address on the color I donated to UNICEF, and improved my vocabulary a bit, too. Not to mention, I feel a whole lot fuzzier than I did before all of that.
I plan to make this a semi regular post, so I encourage you to check back in the future for more ways that you can donate and make a difference, while improving your own life and not making too large of a dent in the old piggy bank. ;)